Read all about it: decorating with books

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• May 17, 2014

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero

Books tell us so much about ourselves. Where we've been and where we want to go. They tell volumes about our hopes and dreams. What we love and what inspires us. And a Kindle will never replace a book in your living room. It just won't.

Williams-Sonoma's Harrington mirrored dresser brings Art Deco style to a room and has enough space for a basket filled with books. Photo: Williams-Sonoma.

Williams-Sonoma's Harrington mirrored dresser brings Art Deco style to a room and has enough space for a basket filled with books. Photo: Williams-Sonoma.

Williams-Sonoma's Harrington mirrored dresser brings Art Deco style to a room and has enough space for a basket filled with books. Photo: Williams-Sonoma

And if you are like many of my southwest Florida decorating clients, your books may be sitting in a corner collecting dust or crowded onto overstuffed shelves and bookcases. But you just can't say good bye to them. They give us comfort and speak to our soul. And some days, a book offers a safe retreat from the day to day stress that life throws our way.

If your collection of books has exceeded your space, make them part of your decor.

The Samantha narrow bookcase by Pottery Barn is styled with lots of texture and books for a display that will fit into any space. Photo: Pottery Barn.

The Samantha narrow bookcase by Pottery Barn is styled with lots of texture and books for a display that will fit into any space. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Books have actually been written about decorating with books. And it's no wonder. The possibilities are endless. The following tips will have you tapping into your artistic side and designing interesting displays in no time and you can't beat the cost of using something that you already have!

The Connor side table from Pottery Barn performs double duty by also offering a nice space for stacks of favorite books. Photo: Pottery Barn.

The Connor side table from Pottery Barn performs double duty by also offering a nice space for stacks of favorite books. Photo: Pottery Barn.

When I style a room using the homeowner's books, I incorporate the following ideas that you can use as well:

On shelves or a bookcase: coordinate the colors and place them in groupings. Paint or wallpaper the back of the bookcase to give some dimension and a pop of color to the display. Place some books horizontally. Others vertically. Style the bookcase or shelf to include photos, pieces of art, mementos from a vacation or collectibles.

Vintage pieces, florals and collections make a pretty display with books on this West Elm pipe bookcase. Photo: West Elm

Vintage pieces, florals and collections make a pretty display with books on this West Elm pipe bookcase. Photo: West Elm

On a coffee table or entry table: use some of your favorite books to create a vignette. Use a pretty tray to tie the books together with a vase of flowers or a vintage element.

Practical use: Books form a great base to elevate a lamp or vase to just the right height. Perfect for an end table or bed night stand.

Toys and books: In a child's room, mix toys with books on a bookcase for a fun display that is also practical for storage.

Entertainment center: Since this can be a very plain (and boring) surface, give it some personality with books arranged horizontally with the (interesting) titles showing.

Start a collection: Check sales at bookstores and flea markets for books that interest you. Vintage or contemporary, blend them into a display that becomes a part of your decor.

Limited surface space? Fill an armoire with your favorite books and accent pieces. Keep the doors open when you want to display them and close them when you need the space in the room. The best of both worlds.

Photo: Brunschwig & Fils.                                                                                                                                     

Photo: Brunschwig & Fils.                                                                                                                                     

And if you just don't have room or for the perfectly designed bookshelf, no problem! The Bibliotheque wall covering from Brunschwig & Fils does the job just fine and totally surrounds you with books that you will never need to dust. My favorite location is on an accent wall in an entry or office or in a powder room. The result: spectacular!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her practical and affordable interior decorating helps clients transform a house into a beautiful home. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Have yourself a merry little (or large) Christmas tree

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and the Christmas tree lots are filled with trees looking for good homes!

If I had my way, I would have a tree in every room. As it is, I always have one large tree, a small office tree and some even smaller smaller trees that are part of vignettes that include an antique, objects from nature or some design element in my home.

That's why it was such a treat for me to spend Sunday afternoon at the final day of Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art. Created by area designers and businesses, the trees were,  well, spectacular. As were the table creations, gingerbread houses, ornaments and holiday rooms.

This year, I have encouraged my southwest Florida decorating clients to keep their holiday decorating simple. Gathering your most cherished Christmas pieces together rather for a display rather than covering every surface, makes for much more relaxing holiday home.  For tips for holiday decorating like a pro, read my article in the Fort Myers News-Press.

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If you need tips for holiday decorating that works with your decor, call me!

Read these tips and sort through the confusion of when to splurge for your home and when to save.

Is it time to hire a professional? Check out my suggestions for working with a professional in the Fort Myers News-Press.

Design forecast: Fearless, bright, bold and brassy

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• November 8, 2014

 
Mid-century modern dining by Stanley Furniture. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn

Mid-century modern dining by Stanley Furniture. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn

 

At High Point Market in North Carolina, along with 75,000 other buyers and designers from all over the world, I did my best to cover 11.5 million square feet of space that provide dazzling displays of thousands of new products.

This home decor mecca is Disneyland for designers. It takes place for one week each fall and spring. With so much to see that it's easy to find yourself on visual overload. In addition, there are opportunities to meet famous designers, take courses from experts and there are lots of opportunities to meet your favorite television personalities (my design crush: Tom Filicia). There is even a seminar that teaches you how to navigate Market, as it is called, and to make the most out of your time.

 
Lots of creative uses of books. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Lots of creative uses of books. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

 

But who has time for that course with all of the spectacular showrooms waiting with beautiful, pretty things. The temptation is to just take the plunge with your to do list. And so I did.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, this is where I go for design inspiration, to look for new ways of creating beautiful rooms and to shop for my clients who are looking for something new and fresh. Whether it is an eclectic piece to be used as a focal point in a room or for to shop for furnishings and accessories for an entire home.

 
Pretty and popular apple green accents with neutral tones. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Pretty and popular apple green accents with neutral tones. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

 

If you can't find it here, it doesn't exist. Not that every showroom can be covered. Despite the miles that I put on my new, sensible walking shoes. So take a trip with me as I offer a peek at a few of the amazing, edgy, stunning new trends that I saw at Market. You will soon be seeing these in your favorite retail spots and magazines.

Trends

The market spotters were predicting "bright, bold and brassy," and that sums it up perfectly. Home design has taken a turn that is not for the faint of heart. Fearless decorating with bright tones and accessories that don't take themselves too seriously.

Brass and gold continue to be very important in home décor----not shiny brass or gold but wonderful antiqued and textured gold as well as brass with a natural patina.

 
Bold and sassy! Photo: Curry & Company.

Bold and sassy! Photo: Curry & Company.

 

Lighting

The jewelry of interior decorating, lighting is the hottest accessory and it takes center stage in every room. Never has lighting been prettier with more sparkle and bling! The choices are stunning. Think gold.

In the Currey and Company showroom, a showstopper in itself, each piece hanging from the ceiling looked like a sparkling gold bracelet twisted into arty shapes.

 
Orli Chandelier of Wrought Iron finished in Contemporary Gold Leaf. Photo: Currey & Company.

Orli Chandelier of Wrought Iron finished in Contemporary Gold Leaf. Photo: Currey & Company.

 

Wrought Iron with contemporary gold leaf and brass are popular finishes. And the dazzling La Mer Wall Sconce of wrought iron, shell and glass is a perfect accessory for a sophisticated coastal look that blends beach-inspired design with a traditional or contemporary look.

 
La Mer Wall Sconce. Photo: Currey & Company.

La Mer Wall Sconce. Photo: Currey & Company.

 

Color

As we said, bold and fearless! Lots of blues including navy, indigo, robins egg.  Red is also trending in sofas and accessories along with corals and pinks. Orange, jade, teals and that beautiful apple green are everywhere.

Furniture

Lots of soft curves that soften the silhouette of a chair or sofa and add visual interest. Canopy beds are trending with a breathtaking, modern new look. Blending antiques with almost any style as an accent piece. Reclaimed/distressed pieces. Driftwood. Lot of gold and brass tables. Table bases and coffee tables have emerged as artwork with sculptured designs. Bar carts are the rage with lots of gold and glass. Ottomans in bold patterns and jewel tones.

 
Coastal living retreat. Photo: Stanley Furniture.

Coastal living retreat. Photo: Stanley Furniture.

 
 
Carved wooden coffee table. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Carved wooden coffee table. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

 

And with furniture, it's all about customization. Changing the shape of a leg, an arm or a cushion, even changing the dimensions of a piece to fit a unique space, offers choices like never before to the consumer.

According to Kravet, premiering its new furniture showroom at Market, a lot of designers today are embracing an updated traditional look, which could mean a tufted sofa with a slim track arm, or a comfortable arm chair with sleek details.

 
Kravet Denham Chair. Photo: Kravet.

Kravet Denham Chair. Photo: Kravet.

 

There is a resurgence of the chaise lounge, and they are popular in today’s interior design schemes. With regard to pattern and color, Kravet embraces a bright bold fabric statement on furniture, however many designers are choosing upholstery that is durable and neutral, which is a great investment for the life of your furniture, and your room.

Brass and bronze occasional tableswere everywhere with some of the most popular at Vanguard Furniture to complement the extensive furniture collection that is popular with southwest Florida homeowners because of its personalization options. And furniture is painted every color imaginable!

Art and accessories

So many fresh, new choices here. Artifact decor is hugely popular as an accent. Buddha's in every color are a huge accent piece with all styles of decor. Books have taken on a huge role in artwork and accessories serving as a focal point and covered in papers and fabric. Glass is seen in bold colors and shapes.

 
Popular Buddha is incorporated into all styles of design. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Popular Buddha is incorporated into all styles of design. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

 

Rugs

Bold and exotic. Intricate patterns. Lots of metallics. Washes and patinas create a soft look.  Viscose yarn is used with pearlescent shimmer to add dimension to neutral tones. Easy care with custom sizing, beautiful indoor/outdoor selections.

 
Blue Bye You. Photo: Company C.

Blue Bye You. Photo: Company C.

 

Summary:

Have fun with the latest trends and don't take your decorating too seriously!

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For more details on trends and other fun sightings at High Point Market, visit www.spectacularspaces.com/blogor call Wrenda Goodwyn at 239-949-1808 or wrenda@spectacularspaces.com

Moving: Putting some happiness into a new home and making it yours

I have a good friend who is moving from Orlando this week to Florida's west coast to begin a fabulous job with a major hotel company. He has leased a very cool apartment that is just a hop from the beach (which he loves). He wants to make it home for a year while he takes the time to explore the real estate market.

His new apartment is in a fun neighborhood just blocks from the water. With hardwood floors and stainless appliances, it has a loft, industrial feel.

The first thing that has to be changed is the green (not a good green) accent wall in the living room and he needs to select colors for the rest of the apartment. I suggested that he add a splash of red for the accent wall and greys in the master bedroom and bath. For furniture and accessories, I suggested clean lines to go along with the style of the apartment.

After talking a walk through West Elm last week, I suggested that he shop there because of the new sofas and accent pieces that I saw. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I often recommend West Elm to my clients when working with smaller scale spaces. I have put a few together that will make his apartment a home and reflect his style right away.

To new beginnings and a happy, new home, my friend!   

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

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Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

 Source: West Elm.

 Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Tips for creating tablescapes: dazzling works of art for your home

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• June 1, 2013

Accessories are the most important part of any interior decorating project. They are the finishing touch. They make your home. They are personal and reflect your lifestyle. But often it is a bit of a challenge as to exactly what to do with your accessories. Where to put them and how to arrange them. 

Pottery Barn's sawhorse console table is perfect for creating a themed tablescape with candles, mirror, flowers and treasured beach objects. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Pottery Barn's sawhorse console table is perfect for creating a themed tablescape with candles, mirror, flowers and treasured beach objects. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Tablescapes and vignettes to the rescue. They are the most creative, fun and cost effective way to add that perfect design element to your home.  You have seen them in magazines and in catalogues. And with a little planning and a few tips, you can create one of your own or have your decorator help you design one.  As a southwest Florida interior decorator, they are one of my favorite design elements to create. 

Blues, whites and natural elements are the theme of this tablescape from Williams and Sonoma Home. Photo: Williams and Sonoma Home.

Blues, whites and natural elements are the theme of this tablescape from Williams and Sonoma Home. Photo: Williams and Sonoma Home.

What are tablescapes?

Creatively designed table arrangements that showcase a specific object or collection. In addition to tabletops, items such as bookshelves, coffee tables and mantles can be transformed into a unique tablescape. In addition, tablescaping can include the placement of tables to create an appealing focal point within a given area, which is a great way to add interest to a room.

They can be themed, dazzling, all one color scheme or varied colors, subtle or nature-oriented. They should reflect your personality and decorating style. You can do one for every holiday and change them for each season. The sky is the limit in terms of creativity. They are a work of art. Your art.

Tablescaping emphasizes your personal touch through the use of favorite collections or themes. Finding the perfect theme for your tablescape depends on personal preference as well as the current style of your décor.  Objects in tablescapes do not have to match perfectly but they should complement each other to achieve balance.

Where to create a tablescape or vignette ?

You may have a dining room table that is just sitting vacant now that all of the major holiday are over. Perfect for a tablescape. Or a coffee table or end table thathas been gathering odds and ends. Or a buffet that is waiting for its next party. A fireplace mantle or a bookcase that needs a little pizzazz. Perfect for a bit of rearranging into a vignette.  And don‘t forget the nightstands in your bedrooms...each one should be styled with the objects that you love. A few books and a couple of your favorite (small) things. Voila! It makes all the difference.

Coffee table bench from Pottery Barn is tablescaped with collections on a tray. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Coffee table bench from Pottery Barn is tablescaped with collections on a tray. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Tips for creating a tablescape or vignette

• Pick a location and measure the space that you will be designing.

• The location might be a table top that combines a piece of art on the wall with the elements on the table.

• Need ideas? Go through magazines and online catalogues. My favorites: Williams and Sonoma Home, RalphLauren Home, Ballard Designs.

• Gather elements that you already have and arrange them. Take a photo.

• Come up with a theme based on objects that you love.

• Select different objects of varying heights. These caninclude:  lamp, mirror, piece of art, books, collections, photos, vase of flowers, a beautiful tray.

• Leave some space on the surface.  Don’t let it become too cluttered.

• Less is more. Like jewelry, take off the last piece that you put on.

• Decide what you need and go shopping (with your photo and measurements).

• Finalize your arrangement.  Take a photo and send it to me. I will select a few and post them on my blog! 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her column, Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Home Inspirations: All that glitters

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• June 9, 2012

Photo to Baccarat chandelierMarie Coquin chandelier designed by Phillipe Starck. Photo: Baccarat.

Women love them. Men often aren't crazy about them.

They are romantic and sexy. The right one with the perfect dimmer switch setting makes anyone look beautiful.

They are dazzling and add style and a touch of refined culture to a space.

They go anywhere in the home, including bathrooms, closets, a walk in pantry. I have even seen one in a laundry room.

You can spend a little or you can spend thousands.

Photo of Baccarat chandelierZenith chandelier with clear pink and mist crystals by Phillipe Starck. Baccarat. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Chandeliers are an accessory that can make an entry or dining room. It does what the perfect necklace does for an outfit. And as with jewelry, before you head out the door, you want to know that you selected the right one.

In southwest Florida, many homes sacrifice chandeliers for ceiling fans. While women are most likely willing to say goodbye to a fan in hopes of adding a beautiful, sparkly chandelier, men often need to be coaxed into considering one.

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